Superfoods fact vs fiction

Sorting superfood fact from fiction

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Our supermarket shelves are groaning under the weight of an impressive array of foods that have been elevated to ‘super’ status. But do they live up to the hype?

Superfoods are a new trend

Myth. Quite the opposite, actually.

Many of superfoods have been staple ingredients in traditional cultures for centuries. In India and Sri Lanka, turmeric has been used for at least 2500 years to treat ailments ranging from stomach upset to arthritis pain.

And the Mayans were giving in to the temptations of chocolate’s unprocessed form, cacao - in the form of a hot drink made with raw cacao powder, chilli pepper and vanilla bean - at least 2000 years before the word “antioxidants” was uttered in these parts of the world.

Only unwell people need superfoods

Not so. Even if you have a healthy diet, introducing a few superfoods into your day can add some valuable nutrients. Many of today’s health problems plaguing the Western world have been linked to what we eat.

Experts believe that up 70 per cent of these chronic conditions could be reduced if we supplemented our diet with more nutrient-rich foods, exercised moderately, didn’t eat or drink to excess, and didn’t smoke. Turmeric, for instance, is an excellent source of vitamin B6, iron and manganese and preliminary studies suggest it may have other health-promoting benefits.

Kale has super-powers

False. Kale doesn’t have super-powers.

On the other hand, it isn’t just another leafy green vegetable.

In fact, kale is one of the vegetables with the highest ORAC rating: Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity is a test that measures total antioxidant capacity, which indicates whether that food is likely to give you a decent amount of antioxidant protection.

It’s also a great source of vitamins A, C and K.

INFOGRAPHIC: 3 delicious ways to eat kale

Superfoods can help you lose weight

Yes and no.

The maths is simple – if you’re eating too much and not moving regularly, it probably won’t matter how many superfoods you’re eating. On the other hand, if you’ve reduced your overall intake in a bid to shed some excess kilos, you may be missing out on some essential nutrients, which can make it harder to lose weight in the long run.

The trick is to cut kilojoules, but not essential vitamins and minerals, by introducing some nutrient-dense superfoods to supplement a healthy weight-loss diet.

You MUST eat superfoods be healthy

Myth. But they can give your health an extra boost.

Foods that have been elevated to superfood status are a rich source of the nutrients that may help to age-well, support a healthy mood and help us feel more alert and focused. The best thing about superfoods is that they raise your awareness of the health-boosting potential of what you eat every day – making you more likely to shun nutrient-poor, processed foods for their healthier counterparts.

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